For the last two weeks I have been logging onto my computer every morning to read my assignment for
The course is called Necessary Parts, and covers the four texts that writers dread--the log line (for the subject line on an email), a query paragraph (and letter), a one-page summary, and a two to three page synopsis (the worst of all). I have yet to meet a writer who likes writing a synopsis, and it's easy to understand why.
The first question anyone who knows me might ask is this: "Susan, why are you taking this course? You've published ten novels and two nonfiction books with four publishers." And indeed, one of the other participants commented on how surprised she was to see my name on the list of students. But, to everyone's surprise, except Ramona's, I've never had to submit a synopsis to sell a book.
When I submitted my first mystery novel to Scribner's in 1992, my agent sent in the entire ms, and we waited. When I switched to Five Star, a division then of Thorndike Press, again I sent in the entire ms. For my first book, a bibliography for G.K. Hall, in Boston, I wrote a proposal, which was accepted. Twelve books and not a single synopsis. It was time to face the nightmare and learn how to write one.
When I finished graduate school and took my degree, I was glad to be done. But I have always loved workshops, taking courses on a variety of subjects, exploring new ideas, and learning to see things from a different perspective. Even as the executive director of a small nonprofit, I knew there was plenty to learn and signed up for all sorts of special trainings.
No matter how many books I've written, or anyone else has for that matter, I believe there is alwayssomething more to learn. And of all the workshops, courses, lectures, and trainings I've attended over the last several years, Ramona's online course Necessary Parts has been the best. If you have a chance to take this, I highly recommend it. There's nothing like finding out that the great fear (of writing a synopsis or anything else) is nothing but a matter of arranging words on a page. Thanks, Ramona.